Sceletium tortuosum

Botanical Name :Sceletium tortuosum
Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Mesembryanthemoideae
Genus: Sceletium
Species: S. tortuosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Name :  Kanna, Channa, Kougoed (Kauwgoed,/ ‘kougoed’, prepared from ‘fermenting’ S. tortuosum) – which literally means, ‘chew(able) things’ or ‘something to chew’.

Habitat :Sceletium tortuosum is native to Southern Africa.

Description:
Sceletium tortuosum is a succulent groundcover which produces showy white flowers with threadlike petals. Its fermented roots and leaves were chewed by the Hotentot tribe of S. Africa as a vision-inducing entheogen and inebriant. The plant contains mesembrine, though the pharmacology of kanna is not fully understood.
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For hundreds of years the Hottentots of Southern Africa used Sceletium Tortuosum as a mood enhancer, relaxant and empathogen. Dr Nigel Gericke, who is spearheading research into Sceletium tortuosum in South Africa, believes that “Sceletium is one of the most ancient of mind-altering substances, and it is likely to have had a profound influence on the evolution of human consciousness.”

Sceletium tortuosum (Mesembryanthemaceae]) is a succulent, which is also known as Kanna, Channa, Kougoed (Kauwgoed,/ ‘kougoed’, prepared from ‘fermenting’ S. tortuosum) – which literally means, ‘chew(able) things’ or ‘something to chew’. The plant has been used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance from prehistoric times.[citation needed] The first known written account of the plant’s use was in 1662 by Jan van Riebeeck. The traditionally prepared dried Sceletium was often chewed and the saliva swallowed, but it has also been made into gel caps, teas and tinctures. It has also been used as a snuff and smoked.

Dr Nigel Gericke, who is spearheading research into Sceletium tortuosum in South Africa, believes that “Sceletium is one of the most ancient of mind-altering substances, and it is likely to have had a profound influence on the evolution of human consciousness.”

Cultivation:
Kanna is best planted in Spring/Summer and harvested in mid-Autumn.[citation needed] It can be used as a herbal smoke, pill or one can chew the leaves to feel its effects. It can be harvested whether or not the flowers themselves have appeared yet.

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Chemical constituents:
Mesembrine, one of the five known psychoactive compounds in Sceletium tortuosum.  click to see
S. tortuosum has been reported to possess significant mood-elevation and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.

The alkaloids contained in S. tortuosum believed to possess psychoactivity include: mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. Mesembrine is a major alkaloid present in Sceletium tortuosum.

S. tortuosum contains about 1–1.5% total alkaloids. There is about 0.3% mesembrine in the leaves and 0.86% in the leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant

Medicinal Uses:
Sceletium has been reported to cause elevated mood and decreases anxiety, stress and tension. It has also been used as an appetite suppressant by shepherds walking long distances in arid areas. In intoxicating doses, it can cause euphoria, initially with stimulation and later with sedation. Having such properties Sceletium is classified as an empathogen type herb. High doses have been shown to produce distinct inebriation and stimulation often followed by sedation. The plant is not hallucinogenic, contrary to some literature on the subject, and no adverse effects have been documented. Kanna is considered by many to potentiate (enhance the effects) of other psychoactive herbal material, such as cannabis.

Historically Sceletium tortuosum was eaten/chewed, smoked or used as snuff producing euphoria and alertness which gently fade into relaxation. If chewed in sufficient quantity Sceletium has a mild aneasthetic effect in the mouth, much like kava, and is used by the San tribes if you are about to have a tooth extracted, or in minute doses, for children with colic. A tea made from Sceletium (Kanna) is sometimes used to wean alcoholics off alcohol.

Known Hazards:
Little is known about the interactions of S. tortuosum, although it should not be combined with other SSRIs, MAOIs, or cardiac medications. Headache in conjunction with alcohol have been noted with kanna use. Some reports suggest a synergy with cannabis.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sceletium_tortuosum
http://www.erowid.org/plants/kanna/
http://www.herbalfire.com/kanna-sceletium-tortuosum.html

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